Welcome to another edition of our weekly Bike of the Week (the clue is in the name!) first look.
This week we’ve got ourselves a Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp Carbon in for test, and although we can’t go out and get it all muddy right now, we have taken some pretty pictures to tell you all about it.
This is our first ebike to feature in Bike of the Week, and while they might split opinions, they’re an increasingly important part of the cycling market and aren’t going anywhere! We’re sure you’ll let us know in the comments what you think about that, though…
What is Bike of the Week?
Every Tuesday, we’ll bring you a detailed first look at one of the latest bikes to arrive for review – from road to commuting, gravel to enduro, and anything in between.
This is our chance to introduce the bike and everything that makes it unique before hitting the road or trails for testing and delivering our verdict in a full review.
The Turbo SL family of bikes is part of a small, but growing sub-section of the eMTB market that have smaller batteries with a lower weight and capacity, along with a lighter, less powerful motor.
The idea is that the bike’s weight is closer to that of a ‘normal’ mountain bike, with all the handling and feel benefits that might bring, while still giving you that little push that makes ebikes a great way to explore the hills.
The other notable bike in this sub-section is the Lapierre eZesty, which uses the removable Fazua motor to give you two bikes in one.
The Turbo SL clearly draws its DNA from the Stumpjumper family of trail bikes, with the sidearm FSR frame design giving 150mm of travel to the rear-end of the bike. This is matched at the front with a 150mm Fox 34 fork.
It sits alongside the regular Turbo Levo (which is burlier, with a more powerful motor and bigger battery), and the Kenevo – an eMTB on steroids.
Sat in the belly of the bike is Specialized’s SL 1.1 motor, which is a smaller model than used in its Turbo Levo and Kenevo electric models, and weighs a claimed 1.9kg.
This puts out up to 240W of power and has been tuned down a little from its bigger siblings, which put out a nominal 250W (but have a higher peak power).
The motor’s power is supplied from the 320Wh battery that sits within the down tube. Having that smaller battery helps keep the weight a good few kilos less than a ‘normal’ eMTB, too, which often weigh in the region of 22 to 24kg.
With a smaller battery, though, comes the worry about what range it’ll manage, especially if you’re using it in the higher power modes.
Specialized has got around this by offering an aftermarket range booster for 50 per cent more range – it sits in the bike’s bottle cage and plugs straight in to the bike.
Specialized says it’s improved the efficiency of the motor too, which helps keep ranges a touch longer.
Those who can afford the S-Works model get the range booster included, otherwise it’s a £300/$450 add-on.
As with an increasing number of aspects of life, there’s an app for the Turbo Levo SL, and it looks to be one of the best ebike apps available.
As you’d expect, assistance levels of each of the three modes can be tuned to your heart’s content, while you can also tell the app how far you want to go and how much climbing you intend to do, allowing it to automatically adjust power delivery to help you get to the end.
If you want to use your Turbo Levo SL on a training ride you can even pair it with your heart rate monitor: input a target HR and if you go over it the assistance will grow; if you’re below the target it’ll get stingy with its power.
The Specialized Turbo Levo SL Comp Carbon
This version of the bike sits in the middle of the range – there are pricier options, as well as an alloy model costing a little less. This bike is constructed from Specialized’s FACT 11m carbon fibre.